blackipa – PorchDrinking.com
For those of you that have been around the craft beer scene for a while, think back several years ago and it’s easy to see that many styles have come and gone. Even some of the styles that have stood the test of time have evolved over the years. One style, in particular, comes to mind: Black IPAs. This style was highly popular for a few years, then quietly phased out of many breweries’ lineups. However, Black IPAs have started to make a comeback in popularity.
Drinking a good beer is always a treat, but drinking a good beer to benefit a great cause? Well, that doesn’t just hit the spot – it hits it out of the park. And that’s what Pike Octopus Ink, from Pike Brewing Company, is all about. Not only does this brew delicately walk the line between rich, malty flavors and those bitter notes so synonymous with a classic Pacific Northwest IPA, it also benefits Seattle philanthropy Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.
After Christmas, I spent a lovely twelve hours in the car driving from Missouri back to Denver. To keep me sane, I brought my friend and amazing photographer, Nate Polta, along for ride. As we made our way through the incredibly exciting plains of Kansas, I convinced him to help me brainstorm recipe ideas. Nate kept proposing I make stir-fries and beef dishes, mostly likely due to his recent return from Asia. Three or four suggestions later he said, “You should make beer sriracha!” … and so I did.
On my personal hoppy vs. malty beer scale, the malty side is always sitting lower. I’ve learned to appreciate hops and all the bitter nuance that comes with them, but generally I’ll go for a stout or porter when given the option. So, when I see a beer labeled “Black IPA” like Alter Ego from 4 Hands Brewing, I’m more inclined to give it a shot. Plus the can art reminds me of Tommy Lee Jones in the incredibly terrible Batman Forever. Thankfully, this brew is anything but that.
Sierra Nevada – Beer Camp #94 Belgian-Style Black IPA
Beer Camp #94 is a 2013 Beer Camp release from Sierra Nevada. Its distinct flavor profile is derived from buckets of black malt giving this beer a deep, black color and a huge body. Openhanded portions of bittering hops add balance and tip the mouthfeel definitively to the hoppy side of the scale, while Belgian yeast provides the brew with a slightly zesty undertone.